Plyometric training, also called jump training, is an excellent way to sculpt the leg muscles and burn calories. Plyometrics are designed to increase muscular power and explosiveness, making them a favorite among athletes in sports such as tennis, basketball and soccer. What do all of the athletes in those sports have in common? Toned, strong legs. Add plyometrics into your workout regimen for shapely legs that have power and strength.
Jump squats combine the strengthening benefits of the traditional squat along with the cardiovascular benefits of jumps. To perform a jump squat, start with your feet hip-width apart and hands by your side. Squat down until your legs are parallel to the ground in a traditional squat, then explode off your feet and jump as high as you can. Land softly on your feet back into a squat position. Repeat 10 times for beginners and increase the reps as your strength improves.
A split jump, also known as a jump lunge, targets the entire lower body, especially the quadriceps and glutes. To perform a split jump, begin in a standard lunge position, with one foot in front of another with a slight bend in each leg. Lower down slightly, then explode up as you jump and switch your legs in the air. Land with the opposite foot forward in the same slight lunge position. Repeat until you have done 10 jumps on each leg, for a total of 20 jumps.
Box jumps are a lower-impact plyometric exercise. They help to increase an athletes jumping power by increasing leg strength. To perform a box jump, begin by standing in front of a box, bench or step. Lower into a slight squat, and explode off both feet, swinging your arms forward with your momentum to jump onto the box. Immediately jump back down to the start. Since box jumps can be difficult, do as many as you can with proper form.
Box Lateral Shuffle
Athletes love the box lateral shuffle to improve agility and quickness. Box lateral shuffles help tone and shape the legs and glutes. To perform a box lateral shuffle, stand with one foot on a step or box and one next to the box on the ground. Quickly jump to the other side of the box, placing the opposite foot on the box and the foot that started on the box onto the floor. Quickly move back and forth over the box. Do 10 jumps on each side for a total of 20 jumps.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.